Welcome to my blog! This is a site where you can keep up to date on my life as a full-time athlete in the sport of cross country skiing. You can expect regular updates throughout the year as I report on training, racing, life in general and maybe even some school. Sponsors, family, friends and fans: Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turn up your speakers.

These guys have too much fun.  

And yet are the most dominant sprinting force on the planet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

WOP Unleashed

Talk about perfect timing.

There were mixed emotions leaving Silver Star after an incredibly productive camp where very smart and efficient training was coupled with an awesomely relaxed atmosphere in the company of very interesting and entertaining individuals. We were sure we were being sent signals to stick around a bit longer, as snow dumped on the Star, the sun shone brightly, and every traffic light turned red on our way through Vernon on our journey back to the Sea to Sky. Pat especially was experiencing anti-homesickness as he wailed and carried on about returning to the rainy, cold, gloom-fest that is Squamish at this time of year. Things continued to look promising on our journey back as the light cloud cover quickly turned to torrential downpours along with warm temps as we approached Vancouver.

Once arrived in Squamish, it was expectedly, disappointingly rainy. Pat's body convulsed in weeping shudders as he was overcome with grief over the less than wintery conditions. That kid loves snow and everything involving snow including Silver Star.

We all thought that Erik's constant snow-induced fist pumps would all but fade from our lives for the foreseeable future.

After bumping into Emily, invading her house to eat some curry, and checking out the WOP webcam, we were pleasantly shocked at the display of monster globs of white-ness floating about in the sacred air. Snow-induced fist pumps were yet again induced.

The Neumann and I peaced back towards Whistler. As the heavy rain became heavy sleet, and finally heavy snow, The Legend took over steering duties and veered off the highway onto the Callaghan access road - that thing has a mind of its own. After skidding and fishtailing for about half an hour, The Legend carried us nearer the WOP. The Legend turned off autopilot as we passed a trio of idiotic German snowboarders (who had been up jibbing at WOP) who thought they could conquer the access road's perilously winding road in conditions more slippery than the greased stick in the greasy stick pull event at the Arctic Winter Games. Their Astro van was perched precariously on the shoulder of the road with no hopes of being pulled out until springtime (haha, maybe.).

After leaving the German kids to fend for themselves, we finally made it to WOP. Conditions were very inclement, we got stuck several times in the parking lot. We frolicked about a little bit, laughed gayly a little bit, called people and shouted into the phone incoherently a little bit, and then followed the plow back home to Whistler (for some reason Tapley's farm doesn't get snow but the rest of Whistler does...hmmm...).

I'm not going to lie, I wasn't totally convinced we would be getting snow before the first races. I mean, it's a little bit different than Yellowknife. In Yellowknife there is so much anticipation of the first snow. It gets cold, and things freeze up slightly. From then on it may be days or even weeks before luck gives us a day of precipitation in the form of snow. We know it will come and we know that it will stay - sometimes it just takes its time. Whistler is much different in the way that precipitation is a daily occurance. Temperature is the variable that we always hope turns in the favour of snowflake crystal formation - not as much excitement as YK as the rain here almost always douses any flames of excitement that may be ignited. Today temperature dropped enough for the first time (to any significant level) to barf snow all over the Callaghan Valley.

We are going skiing tomorrow. Hopefully it snows a couple more feet tonight.

The "older boys" contingent of CVTC got on snow at Silver Star. Very productive camp, very pleased.

Our American friend who joined us for some skiing in Silver Star.

Pat and Pate losing their minds in the summer-like conditions. - "I WANT SNOW!!!"

Excited much?

The behemoth has been awakened.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not that this totally needs to be addressed...

Karl Saidla brainstorms about the different race distances for men and women in skiing and why these differences exist.  

It might be true that these discrepencies are unfounded, and the main one I would argue is the women's 30km vs. the men's 50km.  Over longer distances, women are much closer to men because of the fact of their naturally better developed free fatty acid metabolism.  They can generate much more power than men through this system over the long haul and this is the reason why you see women often competitive if not better than men in ultramarathons (hundreds of km foot races).  The glycogen stores in the body are not enough to be the primary fuel over a 50km, so fat needs to be tapped into as a significant energy source (along with well planned glucose fuelling).  I think the time difference over a 50km between men and women would be relatively small compared to if both sexes were to race a 15km.  

Men's Marathon World Record: Haile Gebreselassie - 2:03:59

Women's Marathon World Record: Paula Radcliffe - 2:15:25

Pam Reed from the states won the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon race down in Death Valley two years in a row (2002, 2003) against current-day super stars like Dean Karnazes (all of you skiers who may remember this article in a mag up on the Haig...).  Mind you, this isn't like an xc 50k that takes you like 2 and a bit hours, the Badwater is usually won in the neighbourhood of something like 27 hours.  

I think that with proper training women can regularly (and easily) crush men in the epic ultramarathons (watch out Zahab!), and that time differences could be narrowed in shorter events like the marathon.  

Gawd, that sounds like an essay...


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"The skiers in the West have the right to be a$$holes to Easterners" - Pat O'Brien

For those of you who got pumped with the inspirational post on how good the skiing is in Whistler, I'm sad to inform you that the skiing was very short-lived and the vast amounts of precipitation eventually became rain and all the snow was washed out.  So no more skiing in Whistler.  It is that time of year though, but the zero-ish temperatures have been on the plus side for a while resulting in monsoon season.  

Which brings me to a real update (without pictures though, it was one of those times when you are too preoccupied and pumped to snap some shots).  Yesterday a select few of us West-Coasters made the pilgrimage out to Silver Star.  Jesse, Chris, Pat, Pate, Erik and myself arrived yesterday for some time on snow.  Skied this morning and it was just awesome.  We got a couple inches overnight and then have been getting dumped on all day.  The ski conditions are great all the way around the mountain and we basically have ski in ski out from our condo at Creekside.  Good skis can be used after a short 5 minute walk up from the village (I regret bringing the crappiest of crapper rock skis), and there has to be at least 15 km groomed, classic track included.  It's a huge congregation out here right now.  Most of the National team is out here, some BC devo kids, some BSR and FNSC, and all the regular Silver Star/Sovereign skiers.  The resort is absolutely deserted minus all the xc-ers - sort of a neat feeling to have the whole place to yourself, shared only with like-minded individuals who are both your friends and your competition.

The skiing is great, so all you skiers, get out here!  

Thursday, November 6, 2008

And so it begins. YKI.

Erik knows it.

Pate knows it.

The Legend knows it.

The kids on the block know it.

Do You Know It?

They are rolling some trails tonight, but trails like this one take time. Meters of snow are needed to cover the giant stumps and boulders that are the trails high up in Callaghan Country. Good thing they get meters, and meters of the white stuff.

Monday, November 3, 2008, you rock my world.

I haven't been blogging lately cause all my time has been spent on, reading sweet articles, like the one about the McCarthy bros and their feathery little friend...hilarious!

The "What the team is reading..." section is completely money, totally reminds me of my childhood searching for any scrap of skiing news on the net.  

EVERY SKIER SHOULD FREQUENT as this list is updated daily and links to very relevant content.   (hope I can get on their "What the team is reading..." roster now!)

Another cool article posted there on STRETCHING, is pretty interesting.  I have recently seen some athletes stretching (static) before various efforts and in one or two situations have heard people ask them to stretch (see below about my request today...).  This season so far has seen a moderately-high lacking in the stretching department for me, but interestingly enough I have been injury free (besides a broken bone) and have felt fine and have never been stiff (except for the odd random macho-strength session recovery period...).  So I've put some thought into what stretching actually does.  Stretching allows for proper (or beyond proper) range of motion when done on a regular basis in a systematic manner.  But how does it do this?  What of the miniscule muscle tears or other tears induced by stretching?  And why would you do this before exercising?  Why would you damage muscle before it is about to be stressed?  Didn't make sense to me...And I only just started thinking about this...  The additional neurologic side/downfalls to stretching (outlined in the article) are of additional intrigue.  And the fact that it has been shown to not reduce soreness when you get or are getting sore (debateable).

Today, before starting to run while measuring VO2, I was prompted by the testers to do some stretches to get ready for the test...I didn't.  

I agree with the article in that dynamic stretches would hold some merit in their execution before exercise or exertion (despite some advice I have heard) if done correctly and with the proper objectives in mind of joint mobility and the potential priming of tendons and ligaments.  

But remember,  a muscle warms up by contracting.  So if you are warming up for a hard running effort, go out and contract some running muscles by exercising (running?) to prepare yourself.  

I'm not saying not to stretch, just make sure you are aware of what you hope to achieve.  For me I am currently using stretching to increase my range of motion in a few areas that are limiting my ability to ski fast.  I am also doing the free drop-in Yoga at Lulu which will give me "strength while lengthened" like my landlady likes to say.  I wonder what that will do for me?  Just remember to watch that sacroiliac's a doozie.

Come back soon,